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Memoirs of a Geisha Movie Review

December 19th 2005

Memoirs of a Geisha Movie Review

Memoirs of a Geisha

After watching Memoirs of a Geisha, I was left with many conflicting opinions regarding film making choices and the depiction of a strong female lead.  Indeed, the film-maker and the feminist inside of me are pulling their hair out trying to decide whether or not this was a good film.  Overall it was beautiful film and Sayuri (played by Chinese actress, Ziyi Zhang) is strong willed, but it's the small inconsistencies leave me so frustrated.

First and foremost I must mention how visually stunning the movie is.  What more could you expect from a movie about Geisha's?  The combination of colors, the subtle camera movements and focuses, and the talented actresses make this a bit of eye candy that anyone with eyes can appreciate. 


The plot moves along nicely and it's acted decently, but one begins to wonder just how necessary the narration is?  If, indeed, the film could not survive without it, why couldn't it have been done with more conviction and less fluff?  Even when the sporadic narration proves useful for the furthering and understanding of the plot, it's bogged down in flowery metaphors or overly direct instructions on what we are suppose to feel at this point in the film.

 There seems to be no middle ground. Taking a step back from my film critic mind, I began to look at this film politically.  The female lead is strong, has set goals, and an intense passion for life.  At a young age she risks life and limb to find her sister and, at a later part in her life, works herself thin to achieve her goals.  However, it is one particular goal that enrages my feminist mind. 

She is in love and seems to forget about everything else in her life in order the man of her desires.  She even practically destroys the lives of several people, but is rewarded in the end with a hug and a kiss.  Sayuri is a likeable character and this disappointed is hardly the film makers fault, but I still cannot let this issue go without mention.

Overall the film is interesting, entertaining, and worth admission price just to see the visuals on a large screen, but the film is not nearly as close to perfect as some critics make it out to be.  B-

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By Stephanie Wilson
Freelance Writer

Geisha Books

Keywords and Misspellings:  Johnson Johnsons

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:47 PM